The big interview: Steve Caldwell.

Age: 36.

Height: 6ft.

Nationality: Scottish.

Position: Centre back.

Current club: retired.

Former clubs: Newcastle United, Blackpool (loan), Bradford City (loan), Leeds United (loan), Sunderland, Burnley, Wigan Athletic, Birmingham City and Toronto FC.

AFEFootballNews’ latest article features experienced centre back, Steven Caldwell, who is certainly no stranger to playing in England.

Caldwell began his career at (at the time high flying) Newcastle United  in the 90’s, alongside his younger brother Gary after they both moved from Stirling in Scotland to start a footballing career in England.

Following loan spells at Blackpool, Bradford and Leeds, he signed for the Toon Army’s arch rivals, Sunderland, where he made a few memories for himself. It was at the Stadium of Light that he formed a solid partnership with Gary Breen. In April 2005, he also scored Sunderland’s winning goal against Leicester City to send his team back to the Premiership.

However, it was his move to Burnley in 2007 that was arguably the pinnacle of his career. He became a fans favourite real quick and was named captain, helping his team to a play off win which took them to the Premier League in 2009.

Following spells at Wigan (where he rejoined his brother) and Birmingham, he began a career in the MLS with Toronto FC in 2013. In his first season there, he became a fans favourite once more and was voted as their player of the season.

He called time on his career in the summer of 2015, with 12 caps for Scotland and over 350 total appearances for his clubs.

AFEFootballNews got in touch with Steve on Instagram to ask him a few questions about his career. Here’s what he had to say …
AFE: Who was your footballing idol when growing up?

SC: My footballing idol was Kenny Dalglish. I was lucky enough to have had him as my manager at Newcastle. A true inspiration!

Dalglish was a popular figure at Newcastle.

AFE: What was it like signing for Newcastle and having your brother with you when moving there?

SC: It was an amazing feeling! In the mid 90’s, along with Manchester United, Newcastle were the team. They were exciting and it was an honour to play for them. To have my brother with me was extra special.

With younger brother Gary (right) in their Newcastle days.

AFE: Best moment as a footballer?

SC: I’m lucky to have had many amazing moments! Scoring the goal to clinch promotion to the championship with Sunderland. Winning the championship at West Ham the same year! Lifting the trophy as playoff champions at Wembley with Burnley. Playing for my country with my brother. I can’t choose between them!

Winning the play-off final with Burnley.

AFE: What about your worst moment as a footballer?

SC: Not that many actually. Maybe it was my second season at Birmingham. Or the way it ended at Sunderland and possibly not retiring the way I would have liked.

AFE: Best player you’ve played alongside?

SC: The best player I’ve played with is Jonathon Woodgate (at Newcastle). However the player I most enjoyed playing with was my brother, for obvious reasons.

Coming on to replace his brother at Wigan.

AFE: How about the best player you’ve played against?

SC: The best player I’ve played against is hands down, Thierry Henry. He was just impossible to play against!

Simply the best? Henry was special.

AFE: When you made the move to the MLS with Toronto, what were the biggest differences between playing in England and playing there?

SC: Obviously the weather and travel distance are the biggest differences. Also the pace and the nuisances of the game are different too. The MLS is a slower more methodical build up. There’s no doubt about it that there is a lot of talent in North America too.

In action for Toronto.

AFE: Do you think the future of the Scottish national team looks bright? With the likes of Oliver Burke coming through.

SC: I really do! The national team has some very good players. We have a few talented and experienced goalkeepers. I really like the look of Fraser at Bournemouth. McArthur at Palace is a very good midfielder. Maybe we are slightly lacking at centre half from what I see however I am by no means an expert when it comes to the talent pool of youth football in Scotland.

AFE: Finally, how are you enjoying being an analyst now that you’ve retired? And do you still watch/keep an eye on your old clubs?

SC: I’m really enjoying it. It’s very different from playing and of course nothing can replace that. It’s interesting to be fortunate to watch different leagues and have an eye on different styles of football. I keep an eye on all my old teams. Each one has a unique place in my heart.

Thanks for the chat Steve and all the best with your analyst career!

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